Hydrogels provide scaffolding for growth of bone cells

Aug 17, 2008

Hyaluronic hydrogels developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers may provide a suitable scaffolding to enable bone regeneration. The hydrogels, created by Newell Washburn, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski and Jeffrey Hollinger, have proven to encourage the growth of preosteoblast cells, cells that aid the growth and development of bone. Doctoral student Sidi Bencherif will present this research, Sunday, Aug. 17 at the 236th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.

Currently, physicians are able to treat patients with damaged bone tissue, like those who have bone fractures that fail to heal, using demineralized bone matrix, a biological material obtained from cadavers. Demineralized bone matrix is rich in growth factor proteins which signal bone cells in the area to multiply and form complex bone tissue, while other proteins in the matrix regulate the activity of the growth factors. Demineralized bone matrix is in limited supply, and because it comes from a human donor, there is a risk of transmitting viruses to the recipient.

"Tissue engineering is an exciting field. We're creating solutions to problems that can significantly impact people's quality of life," said Washburn, an assistant professor of chemistry and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon. "These gels have great promise in not only regenerating bone, but serving as a gene therapy delivery system."

Members of the Washburn lab have been developing synthetic alternatives to demineralized bone matrix. In the work being presented today, they created a flexible hydrogel using biologically active and degradable hyaluronic acid. Hydrogels, which are considered to be the state-of-the-art in tissue design, are made from polymers that swell in water to form a gel-like material. They interact with growth factors much like demineralized bone matrix does, providing scaffolding for bone cells to proliferate and form new tissue. The researchers found that, in vitro, the hydrogels promoted cell proliferation, differentiation and mineralization of pre-osteoblast cells.

Further research by the group has created a hybrid hydrogel that incorporates a nanogel structure. This new hydrogel promotes the differentiation of cells, much like the hyaluronic acid gel while also releasing nanogels in a controlled and targeted manner. The researchers hope that this structure could be used to partner tissue engineering with gene therapy.

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

Explore further: Video: What does space smell like?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The origins of polarized nervous systems

13 minutes ago

(Phys.org)—There is no mistaking the first action potential you ever fired. It was the one that blocked all the other sperm from stealing your egg. After that, your spikes only got more interesting. Waves ...

Supreme Court allows challenge to Colorado Internet tax law

13 minutes ago

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that federal courts can hear a dispute over Colorado's Internet tax law. One justice suggested it was time to reconsider the ban on state collection of sales taxes from companies outside ...

New incubator network to help clean-energy entrepreneurs

1 hour ago

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have launched the Clean Energy Incubator Network. The program, funded by the Energy Department, aims to ...

A new level of earthquake understanding

1 hour ago

As everyone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area knows, the Earth moves under our feet. But what about the stresses that cause earthquakes? How much is known about them? Until now, our understanding of ...

Recommended for you

Understanding nickel catalysis

1 hour ago

Catalysis is a chemical phenomenon that increases the rate of a chemical reaction by spending only a tiny amount of additional substance, called a catalyst. Around 90 percent of all commercially manufactured ...

Video: What does space smell like?

14 hours ago

You can see it through a telescope, or watch a documentary about it, but you can't stick your nose out and take a whiff.

Solar cells get growth boost

18 hours ago

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University's (OIST) Energy Materials and Surface Sciences Unit have found that growing a type of film used to manufacture solar cells ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.